Salivary gland tumors treated with adjuvant intensity-modulated radiotherapy with or without concurrent chemotherapy

Jonathan D. Schoenfeld, David J. Sher, Charles M. Norris, Robert I. Haddad, Marshall R. Posner, Tracy A. Balboni, Roy B. Tishler

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79 Scopus citations


Purpose: To analyze the recent single-institution experience of patients with salivary gland tumors who had undergone adjuvant intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), with or without concurrent chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of 35 salivary gland carcinoma patients treated primarily at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute between 2005 and 2010 with surgery and adjuvant IMRT. The primary endpoints were local control, progression-free survival, and overall survival. The secondary endpoints were acute and chronic toxicity. The median follow-up was 2.3 years (interquartile range, 1.2-2.8) among the surviving patients. Results: The histologic types included adenoid cystic carcinoma in 15 (43%), mucoepidermoid carcinoma in 6 (17%), adenocarcinoma in 3 (9%), acinic cell carcinoma in 3 (9%), and other in 8 (23%). The primary sites were the parotid gland in 17 (49%), submandibular glands in 6 (17%), tongue in 4 (11%), palate in 4 (11%), and other in 4 (11%). The median radiation dose was 66 Gy, and 22 patients (63%) received CRT. The most common chemotherapy regimen was carboplatin and paclitaxel (n = 14, 64%). A trend was seen for patients undergoing CRT to have more adverse prognostic factors, including Stage T3-T4 disease (CRT, n = 12, 55% vs. n = 4, 31%, p =.29), nodal positivity (CRT, n = 8, 36% vs. n = 1, 8%, p =.10), and positive margins (n = 13, 59% vs. n = 5, 38%, p =.30). One patient who had undergone CRT developed an in-field recurrence, resulting in an overall actuarial 3-year local control rate of 92%. Five patients (14%) developed distant metastases (1 who had undergone IMRT only and 4 who had undergone CRT). Acute Grade 3 mucositis, esophagitis, and dermatitis occurred in 8%, 8%, and 8% (1 each) of IMRT patients and in 18%, 5%, and 14% (4, 1, and 3 patients) of the CRT group, respectively. No acute Grade 4 toxicity occurred. The most common late toxicity was Grade 1 xerostomia (n = 8, 23%). Conclusions: Treatment of salivary gland malignancies with postoperative IMRT was well tolerated with a high rate of local control. Chemoradiotherapy resulted in excellent local control in a subgroup of patients with adverse prognostic factors and might be warranted in select patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-314
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Intensity-modulated radiotherapy
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Salivary gland cancers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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